He’s finally done it…

So, Dubya has bunged up many, many things during his time served as President, but up until recently he’d managed to avoid doing anything impeachment-worthy. Now he’s done it.

By admitting that he ordered the NSA to secretly wiretap phone conversations and emails of US citizens inside of the United States without going through the standard intelligence review process required by law George W. Bush committed a felony. I’ll put it all in black and white for you:

There is no room for doubt or question about whether the President has the prerogative to order surveillance without asking the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] — even if the FISC is a toothless organization that never turns down requests, it is a federal crime, punishable by up to five years imprisonment, to conduct electronic surveillance against US citizens without court authorization.

The FISC may be worthless at defending civil liberties, but in its arrogant disregard for even the fig leaf of the FISC, the administration has actually crossed the line into a crystal clear felony. The government could have legally conducted such wiretaps at any time, but the President chose not to do it legally.

Ours is a government of laws, not of men. That means if the President disagrees with a law or feels that it is insufficient, he still must obey it. Ignoring the law is illegal, even for the President. The President may ask Congress to change the law, but meanwhile he must follow it.

The above quote is from Perry E. Metzger who moderates a mailing list on cryptography. You can read more about this subject here.

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